Plath, S. The Bell Jar

This novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of places and people changed. It is often regarded as a roman à clef, with the protagonist’s descent into mental illness paralleling Plath’s own experiences with what may have been either bipolar disorder or clinical depression.

Author:Plath, Sylvia
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Year: 2005
ISBN: 0571226167

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One thought on “Plath, S. The Bell Jar

  1. Jaime

    This novel is a bleak, compelling description of severe depression, written by somebody who experienced what they wrote. Although the setting is 1950s America, many attitudes towards mental illness and gender roles (both crucial themes of the novel) are not very different in 2010s Britain, and the feelings– “I could see day after day after day glaring ahead of me like a white broad, infinitely desolate avenue”– are just the same in many people suffering from depression.

    Of particular interest is a quote from the protagonist’s mother, spoken when her daughter refuses to continue seeing a psychiatrist, and reflecting the persistent misunderstanding that people with depression could “snap out of it” if they really wanted to: “I knew you’d decide to be all right again”.

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